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GARS® for Early Intervention Strategies
Addiction can be avoided if you have the right information. What does your DNA say about you?
Early intervention is the first step in lowering addiction statistics. Research has shown that over 1/3 of the U.S. population carries genetic mutations that result in a predisposition to certain addictive behaviors. A person’s genetics only make up 50 percent of addiction predisposition; environmental factors make up the other 50 percent.
Understanding your genetic risk for unhealthy behaviors will allow you to make better, more informed lifestyle decisions.
If a person gets tested and finds out they have a high predisposition to nicotine, it does NOT mean they are going to become addicted to smoking. If that person never smokes a cigarette or is not exposed to smoking environments, then that addictive behavior is not triggered. It is crucial for people to understand their addictive predispositions so that they can manage themselves better and minimize exposure to environmental triggers.
The same holds true for prescription opioids. GARS® brings a multitude of benefits to both patients and healthcare providers. The U.S. is facing an opioid crisis, leading to a bigger addiction problem. Opioids are just one of the drug classes being abused. The types of prescription drugs most commonly abused are:
- Opioid pain relievers: such as Vicodin® or Oxycontin®;
- Stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): such as Adderall®, Concerta® or Ritalin®;
- Central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety: such as Valium® or Xanax®.
Tendencies that lead to substance abuse and consequent dependence are not always readily determined or observed in patients until there’s a problem.
GARS® is a powerful tool to use when prescribing a narcotic to a patient. GARS® will identify whether a patient has a high predisposition to opioid addiction. This will guide the physician to determine the best way to manage the patient’s treatment and medications. If a patient is shown to have a high predisposition to opioids, a provider might want to start with a non-opioid drug. If there are no other alternatives and the patient must be prescribed an opioid, then the test should alert the physician that this patient needs to be prescribed a lower-grade opioid, administered for a shorter amount of time with more monitoring and counseling to help ensure that pain management isn’t evolving into a physical addiction.
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